Adventures Out West 40th Anniversary!
1973 - 2013
Celebrating 40 years of safe, fun adventures for the whole family!
In 1973 Captain Bruce got bored and looked for a new adventure. He found one in a hot air balloon.
40 years later he is still flying (Part Time) and the business is still soaring.
Our first Stickie!
Adventures Out West was a pioneering business with one of the first commercial balloon accounts. United Banks of Colorado sponsored "Big Blue" and the Wellens family traveled all over the state of Colorado flying their balloon. In 1974 Captain Bruce teamed up with his ski patrol Friend Jim Carter and they purchased Colorado High, the second balloon in their growing business. Bruce and Jim flew Colorado High from the front Steps of the State Capital building to promote the 1976 Centenial of Colorado. May not have been the safest plan but it made a for a great photo.
The Wellens family spent the next 20 years traveling the balloon circuit with their friends the Carters. They raised 7 children and 16 grand children between them. Good times in the Colorado Rockies.
20 years later Bruce and his wife Patty started flying balloons full time. The Broadmoor Hotel sponsored the new balloon "Five Star". The Adventures grew and grew and grew. The balloon business was expanded to include Phoenix, Arizona in 1995, Bruce was sick of the cold winters. In 2000 Bruce purchased Unicorn Balloon Company in Aspen Colorado. Living the Dream was now complete.
Jeep tours were added in 1993. One little Scrambler has grown to 10 big Jeeps. Thousands of guests have toured the Pikes Peak Region in our Jeeps. Our Western guides provide a thoughtful and entertaining adventure for all. In 2011 Adventures Out West was contracted by the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center to provide all park tours for them. AOW opened an Activities desk in the center to promote the tours. AOW introduces thousands of guests each year to one of Gods greatest creations the Garden of the Gods.
In 2003 Greg Wellens purchased the business from his parents. Rumor is it was a hostile take over but everybody seems happy:) A new brand was developed and additional activities pursued. Snowsculpting, Segways and Ziplines were added. More stickers were made and tour offerings expanded. Greg and his wife Ellen have three children and live full time in Colorado Springs. As they added children they also added activities.
Balloon Flight operations were expanded to Santa Barbara California in 2005. this was some of the best flying in the world. Epic Scenery and calm winds. Segway tours were added to the California location in 2011 at a retail location in Solvang with partners Chris Cyr and Bob Macarthy. Wine tasting anyone?
Snowsculpting had become a partime job for Greg while teaching skiing in Aspen Colorado. In 2009 Keystone resort contracted with Adventures Out West to build the giant Kid Topia Snow Fort. Thousands of customers tour the fort and its tunnels every year at the top of Keystone Mountain.
With the addition of Segways in 2009 AOW teamed up with Seven Falls and Garden of the Gods visitors and Nature Center to offer tours in Colorado Springs. This has been an exciting adventure with great partners at both locations. The same winter Cowboy Wayne took over the Segway fleet in the winters and started leading off road desert tours on the Fort McDowell Indian Nation. Summer of 2010 found Greg in Sedona AZ riding a Segway and looking for a new location. Local resident Lora Reeder took on the challenge and Sedona Segway was born.
With the birth of our third child a new adventure needed to be hatched. Pikes Peak Ziplines over Manitou Springs was opened. Again a new partnership was developed with land owners David and Harold Walton, blessed by the good lord. Their scenic canyon in Manitou has proven to be a spectacular location and the zips are a big hit with locals and tourists alike.
2013 and beyond...???
Photo by www.jetlev-flyer.com
Stay tuned. we have another 40 years to grow. Look for more new and exciting adventures from AOW.